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Normative Influences

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The most widely accepted approach to the measurement of normative influence is to establish the frequency with respondents perceive peers and relevant other to use a particular substance. Based on the findings that the peer group can be said to encompass immediate, close peers (friends), and distant, remote peers (people of the same age), the items below reflect this dimension.
Instrument
Relevant Studies
Correlates of adolescent Substance use
Dielman, T.E., Campanelli, P.C., Shope, J.T., & Butchart, A.T. (1987). Susceptibility to peer pressure, self-esteem, and Health locus of control as correlates of adolescent substance abuse. Health Education Quarterly, 14, 207-221.

As part of a school-based substance misuse study, questionnaires were administered to 2,589 fifth and sixth grade students to determine level of use of various substances and intentions to use these substances, as well as problems resulting from misuse. The questionnaire also included 45 items concerning susceptibility to peer pressure, self-esteem, and health locus of control. These 45 items were factor analysed separately for two groups formed by random assignment. Six factors were identified which were both internally consistent and replicable and indices were constructed. The indices measuring susceptibility to peer pressure, self-esteem, and internal health locus of control were significantly and negatively correlated with most of the substance use, misuse and intention items. The susceptibility to Peer Pressure index correlated more highly with the adolescent substance use, misuse and intention items than the self-esteem or health locus of control indices and it had the highest alpha coefficient. Implications for the design of school based substance abuse prevention programmes are discussed.

Risk and protective factors for alcohol and other drug problems
Hawkins, J.D., Catalano, R.F., & Miller, J.Y. (1992). Risk and protective factors for alcohol and other drug problems in adolescence and early adulthood: Implications for substance abuse prevention. Psychological Bulletin, 112, 64 - 105.

This paper examines the risk focused approach to prevention of substance use. The paper examines the main factors that have been identified as conducive to risk of drug use and considers ways in which these factors can be addressed through the application of studies both to high risk and general population studies.

Pathways to adolescent drug use
Kaplan, H.B., Martin, S.S., & Robbins, C. (1984). Pathways to adolescent drug use: Self-derogation, peer influence, weakening of social controls and early substance use. Journal of Health and Social Behaviour, 25, 270 - 289.

In Kaplan's theory of adolescent substance use, generalised self-esteem is the key factor. Self-derogation theory suggests adolescents experience self-derogation and low self-esteem, if they repeatedly receive negative evaluations from conventional others or if they feel deficient in any socially desirable attributes, including but not limited to academic performance. As results they may become alienated from conventional role models and believe that their self-worth can be enhanced by engagiing in alternatives to conventional behaviour and become involved with deviant peers who boost their sense of self-worth. This motivation to rebel against conventional standards will then take the form of drug use when such substances are accessible, used by others and perceived as a symbolic rejection.

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Page last updated: Thursday, 15 July 2004